This Week's Auburn Villager Athlete of the Week is Hallie Stewart, a senior who runs on the Tigers' cross-country team.
Auburn Villager: How did you get your start running cross-country?
Hallie Stewart: My dad actually forced me to join the team in seventh grade, and at first I hated it and would cry almost every time he made me run. But then I fell in love with it, and I just love the team and I've been doing it ever since.
AV: What made you fall in love with it?
HS: It was just the idea that when you work hard it pays off, and I liked getting to see how far I could push myself and seeing my results work out in the races.
AV: It's pretty taxing to run those long distances. How do you prepare yourself mentally to do that?
HS: It helps a lot to have the team and be able to talk to people to get through it, and we all just have fun when we're running. But I guess it's just building up from short distances to be able to do more.
AV: What kind of physical preparation does it take?
HS: We run almost six days a week usually, so that helps. But we do workouts twice a week, long runs and a few recovery runs.
AV: Did you have any role models or other runners you looked up to?
HS: When we first joined the team, me and my friends — well, we got moved up in eighth grade —, so there were a bunch of older girls who always put the team first and always tried their best, and that always made me want to get better and be like them.
AV: You mentioned the team-aspect a lot. How important is it to have that support around you?
HS: It's so big because at state it's stressful to think about your own race, but almost every girl runs their best race just thinking about the good of the team and wanting to do their best so that the team can perform.
AV: How is the season going so far?
HS: It's going pretty good. Our team has a good shot at state, so hopefully everything will turn out.
AV: How is the season going for you?
HS: It's pretty good. It's always a roller coaster, but it's great.
AV: Do you play any other sports?
HS: We do indoor track in the winter and then outdoor track in the spring, so pretty much running all year.
AV: What events do you run in track?
HS: Mostly, the one mile and two mile.
AV: As a senior, do you know what you want to do yet after you graduate?
HS: I definitely want to run in college, but I'm not sure where yet. I went on a few visits, but we're still figuring everything out.
Interview by Brian Woodham